The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently reported in its third quarter market report that the U.S. wind energy industry installed 1649 megawatts (MW) of new power-generating capacity in the third quarter-an amount higher than either the second quarter of 2009 or the third quarter of 2008-bringing the total capacity added so far this year to over 5800 MW. The AWEA also reported that wind turbine manufacturing still lags below 2008 levels in both production and new announcements.
“Wind power installations are up, and that is good news for America’s economy, environment and energy security,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But manufacturing, which has the potential to employ many more Americans in good, clean energy jobs, remains uncertain. A firm, long-term national commitment to renewable energy is still needed for the U.S. to become a wind turbine manufacturing powerhouse and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
Since the early July announcement of rules to implement the stimulus bill, the wind industry has seen over 1600 MW (enough to serve the equivalent of 480,000 average households) of completed projects and over 1700 MW of construction starts. These projects equate to about $6.5 billion in new investment. The AWEA does not expect the fourth quarter of 2009 to be as strong as the fourth quarter of 2008, since the 5000 MW now under construction is nearly 38% lower than the over 8000 MW under construction at this time last year.
The total wind power capacity now operating in the U.S. is over 31,000 MW, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly nine million homes, avoiding the emissions of 57 million tons of carbon annually and reducing expected carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2.5%.
The state posting the fastest growth rate in the third quarter was Arizona, which installed its first utility-scale project. Pennsylvania ranked second in growth with 29%, followed by Illinois with 22%, Wyoming with 21%, and New Mexico with 20%.
For additional details, visit www.awea.org